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Muslim community working to educate, dispel myths

14 May 2012 General 14 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Written by, Tara Bannow, Iowa City Press-Citizen

Leaders from the Iowa City Mosque have been doing more recently to reach out to the community in hopes of teaching more locals about Islam and setting straight some of the rampant misconceptions about their faith.

“If you just listen to Fox News, you don’t get the right idea,” said Abdullah Naayer, an Iowa City resident who’s active at the mosque.

More than a dozen people gathered at the Iowa City Public Library on Sunday afternoon, where representatives from the mosque, 1812 W. Benton St., were ready to teach them about the basic tenets of Islam and answer questions. Although many of the guests were Muslim, non-Muslims had been encouraged to attend.

Iowa City resident Marcus Espey organized and led the event. Since converting to Islam in time for Ramadan last July, he’s been working to spread the truth about the religion and clear up some of the misconceptions, which tend to center on terrorism and mistreatment of women.

“There are a lot of people that don’t practice Islam the right way,” he said. “That could misrepresent it.”

The mosque is hosting other outreach events, as well, Naayer said. Every month, leaders from the mosque meet with members of the local Christian community to create a supportive community.

“It’s just to get to know each other, have an understanding for each other and come to form a mutual respect and to be there for each other in the faith,” he said.

Espey wasn’t raised in any religion, yet always found himself fascinated by them.

“I always asked my mom, ‘Why aren’t we going to church? Why aren’t I getting baptized?’” he said.

It wasn’t until a guest speaker at one of his classes at Kirkwood Community College talked about Islam that he became interested and started reading the Quran.

“For some reason, my heart just lifted up and I was focusing on every word he was saying,” Espey said.

Members of the community are always welcome to come to prayer services at the Iowa City Mosque, which are at 12:30 p.m. every Friday, Naayer said.

“We are very open to anybody coming and visiting,” he said.

Reach Tara Bannow at or 887-5418.

Original post: Muslim community working to educate, dispel myths


  1. The right way is to pick top 10 issues that non-muslims have with Islam. Or say top 10 perceptions about Islam such as ….

    a) Dar-ul-Islam (Islamic lands) Vs Dar-ul-Harb (non-Islamic lands) and what is the objective of a Muslim (as per the Islamic doctrine) in Dar-ul-harb ?

    b) Democracy Vs Caliphate

    c) Nationality Vs Ummah (Muslim brother/ nation hood). Why is that an American Muslim has more solidarity with a palestinian than say a non-muslim american from his neighborhood ?

    c) Muslim personal law : why a Muslim can divorce his wife just by saying “talaq, talaq, talaq” which is against the laws of the US ?

    d) Sharia law. Why do you need one to be on your spiritual journey ? If your continuous stand is that everything is a man made system except Islam, then we are concerned that your alleigance to man made systems are fleeting, or just a cover till you grow stronger.

    etc etc.,

    Then the Muslim community should not just come clean about the top 10 issues, but also PLAN and PUBLISH how it is FIGHTING these popular beliefs within the community.

    There’s no point in trying to be friends with us when you are not standing up against the hardliners or arbic doctrine. No one is going to buy it.

    Show us self reform and we will trust you. Show us the fight. Stand vocal.

    As a non-muslim coming from a land which had a tough history with Islam, my feedback to you is: natives are always going to be concerned about you not becoming mainstream, or your alleigance to natives, or your tolerance towards native ways. The onus is on you to prove that you are not a TROJAN HORSE. So please stand up and show us the reform. We will support you.

    The data out there is very concerning:
    a) there’s no proof of self reform in 1400 years. There’s always a status quo (such as female circumcision…and please do not push this on some regional culture)

    b) there’s enough data from Islamic lands about the status of native non-muslim citizens that concerns us. Since this is something we are all very deeply concerned about, we’d naturally be wary of your wanting NOT to be mainstream (sharia law) and you growing in numbers (for dar-ul-islam).

    So please address these issues rather than shove it under a carpet.

    Good luck !!!

  2. Great article and idea!

    We need more mosques/masjids doing this.

    The Adido person typed a lot, stated nothing & nothing factual!

  3. good ideas!!

  4. Peace

  5. Good and put more effort

  6. justin case,

    how’s it going? can you explain to dongo that it is unacceptable to go off topic? did you not see my response as to why i posted an off topic question to you? and why your 1/4 of a second thought was wrong?

    anyways, is it a fact that in islam you torture people? is it a fact that women inherit have as much as men? is it a fact that the koran is considered perfection? is it a fact that the example of the prophet (sunnah) is to be followed? is it a fact that muhammad married a 9 year-old? is it a fact that some laws (huhud) are unamendable?

    side note, did you pay to post? how do you do that italicized (that is probably misspelled) and bold lettering?

  7. It is sad that the burden of proof seems to be on them to prove their positive community impact.

  8. The suspicion of muslims is based on muslim behavior, not on “misconceptions of Islam” Islam is whatever one makes it.

    This ignorant, religionless person was ripe for conversion to something. At some point he may find out that Fox news is not the source of the malaise. Like most converts to Islam, he will leave.

  9. Totally agree. The first thing we can do to build peace is to reach out to somebody who is different from ourselves.

  10. Bullsh!t. The Muslim community is working to whitewash Islam so that the truth about the religion of hate remains hidden while they work their Muslim Brotherhood agenda.

  11. good going 🙂

  12. Fight this before it changes you to a second class citizen. Sharia explained….non-muslims will be second class citizens:

  13. “Great article and idea!

    We need more mosques/masjids doing this”

    And we need more churches, synagogues, temples, atheist centres etc doing the same in muslim countries.

  14. Love & peace.

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